In an interview with the WSJ, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza seems to leave the door open just the slightest bit that they may eliminate the carry on baggage charges that have caused so much blowhardery in ye olde press. Asked if they have any plans to eliminate the fee, Baldanza said, “Right now, it still seems like a good idea to us…I think the jury on this idea is still out. We need to get into the operational phase and see how people react.” The “right now” and “seems like” make me wonder if they are starting the backpedaling campaign that they may need to undertake after they meet with the US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tomorrow. LaHood, for his part, made the rather ridiculous statement, “Charging passengers to stow carry-on bags in overhead bins does not strike me as good customer service.” Since when is the government in charge of policing customer service?
OTR readers will notice that I’m fascinated with the carry on bag story; an interesting move by a small airline has caused an enormous amount of bluster and ridiculousness from government officials (shocker) and customers. This is an issue of whether an advertised fare actually represents the price of the product. I contend that that is the primary problem here — adding these fees, which won’t be obvious when purchasing through a third party — amounts to false advertising. Instead, the government is essentially saying that carry on fees aren’t nice. Way to take a stand.